Arctica Ice

In 2008, Arctica rediscovered its core groove of efficiency. With our lessons learned from 2007, we were fully prepared for all three Arctica locations to accommodate the demand for ice, the ever-popular resource. We met with our ice vendor early in the year and discussed how to improve the delivery schedule and secure enough rental tractors and trailers to make sure we could hold all of our locations to our stated hours of operation. With the improved plan, we never sold out of ice during the event … and there was just one truck whose supply dwindled to solely block ice for about 15 minutes.

An increasing challenge within our team is solid communication both on and off playa. With the majority of our team spread out over the continent, and the size of the team increasing to meet the expanding needs of the operation, it has become more difficult to keep everyone apprised of changes or decisions throughout the year. To help communicate the basic day-to-day ice sales requirements, a standard operational procedures manual was created. This SOP received rave reviews from the new volunteers as well as returning staff, who referred to it to refresh their memory before the event. We are committed to stepping up our e-mail and mailing list activity in 2009, ensuring that all of our management and volunteers are kept in the loop in a timely manner.

Near the sales counter, a man wearing a fedora poses with a clown holding a teddy bear.

We also brought one of our previous shift leads back to assist with the massive task of scheduling all of our amazing volunteers. With three people dedicated to processing the thousands of e-mails that come through the volunteer questionnaire, we were able to get in touch with all returning and new volunteers who had expressed an interest in Arctica, making up for the distinct lack of communication during the winter. Ever since we expanded to three locations, which requires three times the number of volunteers, Arctica has needed a year-round volunteer coordinator. We finally placed the perfectly qualified individual in this position!

During the event, ice sales happen at such a rapid-fire pace that when unforeseen issues arise, snap decisions must be made on the spot. Our band of returning team leads have the perfect mix of icy knowledge and experience to deal with just about any surprise the desert tosses at us. However, next year we plan to have a daily mandatory debrief for all of the team leads so that important information regarding these issues can be more frequently reported, shared and dealt with.

We had an unexpected snag when our decor manager this year couldn’t attend the event. In a scramble, we found a new person to head up decor and created a new, semi-cohesive design concept. However, once we arrived on playa we found that the DPW crew that builds our structures had their own internal challenges and were unable to finish all three structures on schedule. This pushed back our allotted time for beautifying the interiors and signs, and as a result neither the structures nor decor fully came to fruition as we’d envisioned, and the stations looked relatively utilitarian and bare.

A recurring challenge is our inability to physically shut our structures when we close for the night, for when hopeful customers wander in after hours, it takes our volunteers longer to close down operations before getting out to enjoy the event. In 2009, we hope to address structural limitations and find a solution that will make it obvious when Arctica is open or closed.

Our biggest success in 2008 was our dedicated on-site truck driver and truck escorts. Three teams of two worked 12 – 14 hours shifts with barely a complaint and made sure that each station had enough ice, drinking water and caffeine when it was available. We expected that each of the would have enough down time, but to our great surprise they were needed for escorting and errands for nearly the entire shift. In 2009, we plan to bring on an additional truck escort team and another dedicated truck driver so everyone can have at least one day off to enjoy the event.

Once again, most of our volunteers pooled their personal tips to donate a stunning $6,079.28 to Burners Without Borders. It’s fabulous to see our hard earned tips benefiting the rest of the world through our Black Rock City emissaries!

The proceeds from this year’s ice sales were donated to the following organizations:

  • Best Friend’s Animal Society (in memoriam Bill Carter)
  • Mariposa’s Art (Art, Music, Dance in Santa Cruz)
  • Dogpatch Neighborhood Association
  • Leave No Trace
  • Surprise Valley Chamber of Commerce (Cedarville)
  • Lawyers for Burners c/o Trip Knight
  • Nimby
  • Black Rock Arts Foundation
  • Gerlach Medical Clinic
  • Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department
  • Gerlach High School
  • Gerlach Gen. Improve. Dist.
  • T1 Line for Gerlach
  • Gerlach-Empire Senior Citizens Palace
  • Crisis Call Center
  • Friend’s of the Black Rock
  • Nevada Museum of Art
  • Sierra Arts Foundation
  • Bruka Theatre
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada
  • Pershing County Government General Fund
  • Eagle Scholarship
  • Pershing County Community Center
  • Pershing County High School (Athletic Department)
  • Pershing County Domestic Violence Intervention
  • Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care
  • Pershing County Humane Society
  • Lovelock Frontier Days
  • Lovelock Lion’s Club
  • Friends of the Library
  • Marzen House Museum
  • Kid’s, Horses & Rodeos
  • Lovelock Food Bank
  • Lovelock Boy Scouts Association
  • Lovelock Little League Association
  • Lovelock Chamber of Commerce
  • Pershing County Arts Council
  • The Close Up Foundation
  • National History Day
  • Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary
  • Project Graduation

Submitted by,
Amber Cisura & Xandra Green